Companies Team Up to Train Cocoa Entrepreneurs in Dominican Republic

Mondelez International is the world’s largest chocolate company and a world leader in chocolate, biscuits, gum, candy, coffee and powdered beverages, with billion-dollar brands such as, Nabisco and Oreo biscuits, Tang powdered beverages and Trident gum.

Today, Mondelez and the Peace Corps announced a three-year partnership to promote sustainable development in cocoa-growing communities in the Dominican Republic.

The program looks to expand on the Peace Corps’ Build Your Dreams Program, which already teaches young women and men aged 16-29 the skills needed to help them become small business entrepreneurs. This collaboration is the latest project in Mondelez International’s Cocoa Life sustainability effort — a $400 million, 10-year commitment to improve the livelihoods and living conditions of more than 200,000 cocoa farmers and about one million people in cocoa farming communities. This collaboration is in line with Cocoa Life’s focus on youth and making cocoa farming a more attractive profession for the next generation.

By 2015, the Build Your Dreams program plans to:

  • Teach 1,200 young men and women skills to develop and write business plans
  • Prepare 360 young men and women with business plans to apply for micro-financing
  • Consult with 120 local entrepreneurs on developing their businesses

“Young entrepreneurs are at the core of thriving farming communities,” said Christine M. McGrath, Vice President of External Affairs and Cocoa Life at Mondelez International. “That’s why partnering with the Peace Corps is a natural fit for our Cocoa Life initiative.  Together, we’re helping young women and men gain financial management and income-generation skills. Armed with this new business expertise, these entrepreneurs will be empowered to initiate their own businesses and establish more diversified, stable and inclusive economies.”

Mondelez International already runs successful initiatives in Ghana and India that are helping the company reach its goal to sustainably source 100 percent of its European coffee by 2015; and its “Coffee Made Happy” initiative to invest at least $200 million to empower one million coffee farming entrepreneurs by 2020.